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Council critical of NDP backing LNG tax act in BC

Don't Frack B.C.The British Columbia New Democratic Party has voted in favour of Bill 6, the Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act.

The Georgia Straight reports, “The legislation provides a 3.5-percent taxation rate on net income from gas liquefaction starting January 1, 2017. It’s lower than the seven percent previously announced by the government. But the 3.5-percent rate will not be in effect while companies are recovering capital investments and net operating losses. During this period, a 1.5-percent rate will be applied.”

The provincial government had promised the LNG industry would generate as much as $100 billion in tax revenue over the next thirty years. But LNG corporations said the proposed taxes on them were too high and now given this new corporate-friendly tax structure the provincial finance minister has been vague about tax revenues.

In September when the CEO of Petronas publicly complained that the taxes on it proposed Pacific Northwest LNG terminal would be too high and threatened to abandon the project, the Council of Canadians called on the Malaysian-based corporation to do so. The terminal would release an estimated 5.28 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year and raise BC’s greenhouse gas emissions by 8.5 per cent.

The Georgia Straight article explains the NDP position: “Vancouver-Fairview NDP MLA George Heyman explained that although the legislation fell short of the B.C. Liberals’ promise of a bonanza, his party backed the bill because there likely will be some LNG projects. ‘British Columbians deserve some return from that’, Heyman told the Straight in a phone interview. Heyman also pointed out that the ‘most important bill in terms of environmental impact’ in connection with LNG was the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act, which the B.C. NDP voted against during the last session.”

But, “Leila Darwish, regional organizer for the Council of Canadians in B.C. and the Yukon, is disappointed with the NDP’s support. ‘They made a poor decision’, Darwish told the Straight. ‘They should not have stood behind the Liberals.'” The New Democrats even voted against Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver’s motion to refer Bill 6 to committee for further study.

The Council of Canadians is opposed to the building of Liquefied Natural Gas terminals and pipelines in British Columbia. We believe that a ban on the development of LNG terminals and pipelines is necessary in order to respect Indigenous rights, limit greenhouse gas emissions, defend the province’s freshwater sources, protect wild salmon, and protect communities and the coastline.

We have highlighted that if just five LNG terminals were to be built, the facilities would release 13 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The fracking and transport of the gas would generate an additional 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve also noted that the gas needed for five LNG terminals would require an estimated 582 billion litres of water from BC’s rivers, lakes and streams. And just five LNG terminals could require an estimated 39,000 new wells by 2040, the majority of which would likely be fracked.